College Men

Men's fall countdown: No. 7 South Carolina

Matt NeSmith and the South Carolina Gamecocks narrowly missed out on match play at the NCAA Championship last year.
Matt NeSmith and the South Carolina Gamecocks narrowly missed out on match play at the NCAA Championship last year. ( Courtesy South Carolina Athletics )

Monday, September 1, 2014

Next up on our men's 2014 fall countdown, No. 7 South Carolina:

Editor's note: The rankings are those of our college expert, Lance Ringler, as he looked ahead to the collegiate preseason. The official Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings won't be available until a couple of the weeks into the fall season. Our staff of Andy Zunz, Cassie Stein and Brentley Romine are writing the individual profiles of the teams.

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South Carolina Gamecocks

Preseason rank: 7

Final 2013-14 Golfweek/Sagarin ranking: 20

2013-14 in review: The season ended in heartbreaking fashion for South Carolina, as the team missed out on a chance to advance to match play at the NCAA Championship by one stroke. The season was far from a failure, however, as South Carolina earned three wins and had four players post sub-73 scoring averages.

Notable departures: None

Key returnees: Juniors Will Starke and Matt NeSmith and seniors Caleb Sturgeon and Will Murphy

Newcomers of note: Freshman Keenan Huskey

Circled on the fall calendar: Dick's Challenge Cup, Sept. 19-20, GC of Tennessee, Kingston Springs, Tenn.

Fall outlook: The Gamecocks return all five starters from last year, along with redshirt junior Sean Kelly, who sat out last season with a torn ligament in his left wrist. The addition of Kelly gives head coach Bill McDonald six players who have NCAA Championship experience. Narrowly missing out on match play at the championship last year could prove to be a motivation for the experienced Gamecocks.

Coach's perspective: "We all were stinging a little bit from how the season ended at Prairie Dunes and that's about as much motivation as you should need to get back there and in the hunt for match play." – McDonald